All aboard! Homesteading Basics: The Eggcartn Chicken Tractor

Chicken Tractor Made Easy

If you’ve ever taken a permaculture class or spent any amount of time reading about popular permaculture methods, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the idea of the chicken tractor.

Chicken tractors are a classic example of the permaculture motto, “the problem is the solution.”

In this case, the problem is that chickens require expensive feed and they create a large amount of stinky poop.  And the solution is to make your chicken coop mobile – cutting down on their feed bill by supplementing with fresh weeds and bugs, and distributing that stinky poop across a field in smaller amounts where it will act as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.  It’s a pretty great approach, especially for people who can’t just let their chickens run free at pasture.

Read more: Growing Chicken Feed the Easy Way

Hard Work Made Easy

One drawback of the chicken tractor is that chicken coops are heavy, and moving coops around a field can be a barrier for people who can’t do that physical labor for one reason or another.

There are hundreds of different designs for chicken tractors out there, and many of them incorporate some sort of wheels to make the job of moving the tractors easier.  Here’s a solution that Marjory came across at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, TX.  This is a simple and appropriate solution that uses some basic physics to make the job of moving chicken tractors nice and easy… take a look:

The Egg Cart’n Wheel Lift Kit

This nifty setup is made by Quail Manufacturing in Partridge, Kansas. They also offer the actual chicken tractors – they have several different designs with catchy names like the “Yolkswagon” – they’re made from aluminum, steel and plastic.

But they do sell the wheels and lift assembly separately for people who already have their own tractors, or prefer to build their own from wood. The kit isn’t cheap (it sells for about $300), but if you’re someone who needs a low-impact chicken tractor, this may be a great solution for you.

paul-wheaton-6-ways-to-keep-chickens

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Michael Ford


Contributor

Michael has been the resident editor at The [Grow] Network since January 2015. Michael grew up in St. Louis, where he became a lover of nature - hiking and fishing his way through the Ozark hills in Missouri. He attended Baylor University in Waco, TX, and he currently lives in Austin. Michael has background experience in small-scale farming, commercial growing, vegetable gardening, landscaping, marketing, and software development. He received his Permaculture Design Certification from the Austin Permaculture Guild in 2013.


No Comments
  • SlowBro

    Looks like you could fashion the same with a Harbor Freight trailer dolly for much less cost.

  • Sandy

    Michael: We’d love to keep chickens and would need the assist BUT I DON’T SEE A LINK!!!!! And there is no image of a kit. All is see is the “6 Ways to Keep Chickens” book. Is that where the info is located?

  • Teresa

    Love it! Thank you for sharing this manufacturer.

  • Faithe T

    We’ve been using a similar set up for the past four years with our coop. It works great on flat ground but is a real (but doable) challenge on hilly land such as ours.

  • Kelly

    Marjory, you are so smart and so right about your teachings, but I am so broke I cannot do any of this. How would I get started with barely an income just trying to survive. I have two grandsons to raise and a husband that cannot work due to injuries. I would love to “grow my own groceries”, but cannot afford to at this time. If only things were free and people helped like they used to. Love your stuff though. You are fantastic. Maybe if I had your DVDs I could start a blog as I learned and then I could have enough money to make the right food choices for my family. I cry just going to the grocery stores because I know, but cannot do anything about it. You and Joel are my heroes. Bless you for the work you are doing “one plate at a time”. KJD

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